Crymlyn Quarries

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Crymlyn Quarries
Brown Eyed Girl -  Fr.6c. Climber: Rob McAllister.  Photo:  Al Rosier.
Brown Eyed Girl - Fr.6c. Climber: Rob McAllister. Photo: Al Rosier.
Rock Type Quarried Sandstone
Climbing Style Sport
Approach Time 5 minutes
Area Sandstone
Sub Area Sandstone Eastern Valleys
WGS-84 Location 51.686193, -3.136350
OS Grid Ref. ST 215 992
WGS-84 Parking Location 51.682577, -3.1408613
GR Parking Location ST 212 988
Parking Postcode NP11
Base Elevation 134 metres (SRTM Estimation)
General Info
Faces Direction West
Aspect Partially Sunny
Wind Sheltered Seldomly
Climbing Type Normal
Midge Problem Mild
Seepage Needs a long dry spell
Crags Within 5.0 km

Blaen Bran Quarry, Crymlyn Quarries, Glyn Quarry, Henllys Quarry, Oakdale, Siocled Seren Pysgod Quarry, Swffryd Wood Quarry, Tirpentwys, Tyle y Coch

Crymlyn Quarries (AKA: Monk’s Quarry, Tunnel Quarry & Viaduct Quarry)


The Crymlyn Quarries lie within deciduous woodland on the eastern flank of the Ebbw Valley, north of Crumlin and below the village of Swffryd. The majority of the walls face West & North so that they are, for the most part, shaded with some areas catching the late afternoon or evening sunshine. Climbing is generally only possible from May to October as during the winter, and after heavy rain, almost all of the walls suffer from prolonged seepage. Unfortunately this means that stainless steel bolts are required, so it is expensive to put up new routes here. However, there is no midge problem, which is a really big bonus.

Monk's Quarry is large, open and predominantly west facing with a few narrow north facing walls. Tunnel Quarry is similar but more broken and gloomier than its larger neighbour. The two main quarries are linked by a unique tunnel which has a more than suspect roof.

In the right hand side of Monk's Quarry is The Main Wall; this is approximately 25m square and contains an obvious overhang running across the face at half height. Below the overhang the wall is vertical, above it is slabby. To the right of the Main Wall is a blocky north facing retaining wall containing a short, square cut, tower at its right hand end. Around the corner from this tower, and up some banking, is the arching orange Jaffa Wall. To the left of the Main Wall is an impressive ‘ships keel’ arête and a steep north facing wall containing the not to be missed Pumpty Dumpty and awe inspiring roof crack of The Clart Mountain Project. The left hand side of the quarry contains a long sweep of steep slabs.

The left-hand Tunnel Quarry is best accessed by passing through the tunnel at the extreme left side of Monk's Quarry, or by walking through bracken on the spoil heaps, away from the quarry faces.

On the northern side of the ‘tunnel’ is a blocky north facing retaining wall, Tunnel Wall, which is similar in position and architecture to the retaining wall in Monk's Quarry. To the left and perpendicular to Tunnel Wall is a permanently wet face, this is unfortunate as it is one of the best looking walls in the quarry. A series of broken arêtes and corners lead to a long, flat, west facing wall which has a terrace at 1/3rd height that runs to the far left-hand end of the crag, this is Terrace Wall.

Beneath these large quarries is the smaller Viaduct Quarry which is situated immediately adjacent the now closed Crumlin Road which led to the Llanhilleth Viaduct. The quarry is easily accessible and contains two separate west facing walls; the slightly overhanging left wall and the taller, slabby, right wall.

There are many more potential lines, so watch this space for further updates. Have a great time & respect projects.

For general interest a few pictures of the quarry prior to and during it's development are presented in the following link: Crymlyn Quarries: Out-takes and Extras.


To find your desired crag, type the name in to the Filter Markers box (top right corner of the map).

Loading map...

From Junction 28 of the M4 follow the A467 to Brynmawr (as for Sirhowy). Approximately 2km after passing through Abercarn is a Shell petrol station set in a large quarry on the right hand side of the A467. Just past the petrol station is a double set of traffic lights on a staggered junction (right is the A472 to Pontypool leading to Tirpentwys, left is the B4521 to Blackwood). Approximately 100m beyond these lights take a dedicated right turn to Crumlin Road, just past the 'SOFA SOFA' warehouse on right. Follow the road around to the left and park opposite the bus stop.

Opposite the bus stop is an asphalt path leading up, passing the rear gardens of houses on Upper Viaduct Terrace. At the end of the path are some corrugated steel garages. Turn left and follow a rough level track past the garages. This track carries on for approximately 200m until it starts to narrow and passes below a tall masonry retaining wall and ends at a cyclepath. 20m uphill the quarry entrance is evident.

If in doubt look for the overhead electricity cables spanning the valley, these pass 50 m to the right of Monk's Quarry.

Parking for the Viaduct Quarry is a little further down the lane than that for Monk's Quarry. Park adjacent to a locked barrier and walk along the viaduct for 100m, the quarry is obvious on the right. If you wish to move from here to the main quarries a path up the right side of the quarry leads quickly to the access track.


All routes are equipped with double bolt abseil stations.


Be aware that, parting from convention, the routes are described from right to left (as you walk around the quarry).

A Star Too Far Fr.6a+. Climber: Alan Rosier. Photograph: Simon Williams.

Jaffa Wall

Undeveloped as yet

Right Hand Retaining Walls

  1. Fist of Fury – Fr. 7a+
    The front face of the square cut tower contains three roofs and is bouldery! Tackle the short arête and mantle over the first roof, climb the cracks over the second and final roofs. 12 m.

  2. Tomahawk - Fr. 5+
    The corner. 12 m.

  3. Last of the Mohicans - Fr. 5
    The arête to the left of the corner. 15 m.

  4. Werewolves of Crymlyn – Fr. 5+
    The long line of staples on the blocky retaining wall. Has an awkward and difficult move at half height. 22 m.

Main Wall

This is the obvious flat wall with a strip roof at half height. Unfortunately seepage affects the right side of this wall quite badly. The lower parts of the routes require a prolonged spell of good weather before they are totally dry, although it is possible and worthwhile to climb them with some seepage present below the first 2 bolts. All the routes require some sensible and delicate handling of the rock above the final bolt.

  1. Blackberry Crumble – Fr. 6c
    This route shares the start of The Inscrutable Umberto Manteca but branches right at the top of the big hollow flake, after bolt No. 4. The moves through the roof and past the pocket in the headwall provide the substance; the stuff below is the crumble. Please be considerate and avoid standing on the large delicate hold at the lip of the roof, there is another adequate foothold just to the left. 17 m.

  2. The Inscrutable Umberto Manteca – Fr. 6c+ **
    Start as for Brown Eyed Girl but trend rightwards after bolt No. 2, to the big hollow flake. From the top of the flake make a leftward traverse on sloping edges to buckets under the roof. Pull through the roof, to the right of the ‘V’ notch (NOTE: entering this ‘V’ notch will not enhance your chances of success). Once established on the slab trend slightly rightwards passing two obvious pockets (medium cams possible) in a smooth band. From the last bolt head straight up for the high arête, the belay is on a ledge to its left, shared with Brown Eyed Girl. 23 m.

    Main Wall Topo. Photograph: Alan Rosier
  3. Brown Eyed Girl – Fr. 6c **
    Take a direct line past a vertical crack to reach a ‘V’ notch in the roof, and tackle this directly. Ascend the slab via a pleasant thin flake. Lower off above the ledge. 22 m.

  4. Jalapeno Desperado – Fr. 7a *
    The central line contains some technical moves to gain a ledge under the roof (L.O. here for a tough Fr. 6b tick). Stretch left for a hold, way, way, above the lip of the roof and crank! The slab provides a spicy continuation after the thuggery below. Belay on a ledge at a slightly lower level than the previous route. 22 m.

  5. Birth Canal – Fr. 6c+ *
    Follow a shallow curving corner/arête to reach a break under the widest section of the main roof. Mantle awkwardly onto the break and squat like a toad, reach up for jugs and then use a cunning foot-lock to find good crimps. The continuation slab should not be underestimated. Belay on a ledge. 22 m

  6. Piano Dentist – Fr. 6b+ *
    Pass two ledges to find a resting position under the roof. Tackle the roof on jams and a strange ‘locked-in’ block. Follow the disjointed crack in the slab above which is not as useful as it appears from below. Belay on a ledge to the left. 22 m

  7. A Star Too Far– Fr. 6a+
    A system of cracks and ledges at the left of the wall. Sustained at the grade and requires a level head in the exposed top section. 22 m

Playschool Area

Simon Rawlinson on The Clart Mountain Project

A varied selection of routes, both slabby and overhanging. There is also The Childrens Circuit - Crymlyn for those wishing to bring along the kids.

  1. Rubber Dinghy Rapids - Fr. 6a+
    Pitch one of The Clart Mountain Project. Lower off a ring bolt at the back of the roof. 10 m.

  2. The Clart Mountain Project - Fr. 7b+ **
    The horizontal roof crack is not a project anymore and has been on-sighted, within a week of the first ascent. Tape up and prepare for a full body pump! 16 m.

  3. Pumpty Dumpty - Fr. 6c+ / 7a *
    Just right of the obvious corner are two steep and well cleaned parallel cracks. Ascend to the grassy ledge, step onto the wall and make some tricky moves to gain the cracks (medium & large cams possible). Success requires fitness, technique and a good head. 17 m

    Left of the big green corner is a narrow slab containing the following two routes.

  4. Weebalot – Fr. 6a+
    Clamber up boulders at the foot of the cliff then step across the void onto the wall (threaded staple). From the ledge, follow a continually widening crack to the roof. The belay is on the sloping shelf directly above, honest. 16 m.

  5. Alys in Wonder-bra – Fr. 6b+ *
    The left hand line on the slab is a fingery proposition and is difficult to on-sight. Try not to wander off onto the Weebalot ledge however tempting it may appear. 15 m.

    Left and up a short bank is another narrow slab.

  6. Woodpeckers from Mars – Fr. 6c+
    Follow an easy angled ramp and short slab to a weird pinch under the roof. Reach up for a shallow rectangular niche above the roof then campus, blindly, to get established on the upper slab. Now run it out to the lower off, left of the jamming crack. 12 m.

Monk's Quarry - Sunny Slabs & Playschool Area

Sunny Slabs

  1. Philatelists Take a Licking - Fr. 6a+
    On the far right of the slabs are three green via ferrata steps. An earthy start (mainly avoided using the steps) leads to sustained pulling on big rounded pockets. 12 m.

  2. CLOSED PROJECT. DE - Boney Pony Rodeo - Fr. ?
    The smooth face to the right of the second set of green Via Ferrata Steps. Not fully bolted or cleaned. 12 m.

  3. Cry Me a Liver - Fr. 6a+
    The leftward trending crack starting above the second green Via Ferrata Steps. Contains loose zones!!

  4. Frank Admissions of a Philatelist - Fr. 6a
    Start from the grassy bank on the left side of Sunny Slab stepping onto the wall over the abyss of the 'Cave'. A tricky move at 2/3rds height. 10 m.

    Drilled but unbolted line.

  6. Stamp Out Philatelists - Fr. 6a+
    The flake crack and overlaps right of the chimney. A few rattly holds but lots of bolts. 10 m.

  7. The Uncertain Future - Fr. 6a+
    The attractive (looking) arête located above the entrance to 'Tunnel Quarry'. In need of new bolts and lots more cleaning - so best not to climb it at all for moment. 10 m.

  8. The Last Frenzied Lick of the Philandering Philatelist's Album - Fr. 6a
    Takes the crack and headwall direct from the grass ledge, left of the arête of Uncertain Future. Reasonable climbing leads to a stiff pull onto the slab and pinaccle top. Either top out and lower/belay on the stout silver birch or lower off the bendy twizzles of the adjacent route (crux). 10 m.


Tunnel Wall Topo

Monk’s Quarry ies immediately north of Monks Quarry. Continuing the descriptions from right to left, the first route is a previously bolted but unrecorded line on the steep flat wall forming the side of the tunnel.

Tunnel Walls

Tunnel Walls Topo 2

  1. The Gloaming Place – Fr. 6a
    The leaning, fungus encrusted wall on the right of the tunnel, finish on the arête. Anyone got a spare hanger? 9 m.

  2. A Nightmare of Lundy Cabbage – Fr. 6a **
    To the left of the tunnel is a niche, enter this and follow the steep twisting groove above. On the upper wall, big incut holds lead to a belay, left of the large beech tree. 17 m.

  3. Khazad-dûm – Fr. 6a+ *
    Climb easily up the face of a narrow dusty pillar in the centre of the wall to an overhung shelf. From the left side of the overhang, trend right and up, to a rest on the upper wall. Aim for the largest overhang in the upper wall and pass through it to gain easy ground. The L.O. is accessed from the right arête of a final large overhanging block. 18 m.

  4. Volcanic Trash – Fr. 5 *
    The large arête. Take a series of corners until the high arête is reached. After the final bolt, swing around the arête to top out. Lower off the end chain link and right hand staple. 16 m.

  5. Bromancing the Stone - Fr. 6a *
    The hand-crack left of Volcanic Trash is steep for the grade. 16 m.

Overlapping Wall

A, strangely, aesthetically pleasing wall, nearly 20 m in height

Terrace Wall

Terrace Wall (Right)

The last wall of the quarry has an obvious terrace at 1/3rd height. The right wall is of good quality sandstone, solid and rough, the wall to the left containing the remaining two routes is somewhat hollow.

The first four routes, on the right hand side of the wall, are accessed via a rising bolted traverse onto the ledge at Fr.5+. Alternatively put a temporary overhand knot directly below the first hanger and pull up the rope easily. Undo the knot afterwards to prevent the local youths from attempting the same feat.

  1. You Can't Fool Owls – Fr. 6c *
    The first stapled line left of the main corner, one very technical move. 13 m.

  2. Earth Inferno – Fr. 6c *
    The second stapled line has a bold second clip and is sustained and pumpy. 14 m.

  3. Adrenochrome – Fr. 6b+ *
    The third line has great rock and some really enjoyable moves above half height. 11 m.

  4. Westphalian Route – Fr. 6a+
    The arête bounding the wall contains many large and unhelpful sandstone slopers. From the top of the arête, traverse rightwards apprehensively to the adjacent lower off. 11 m

    The left hand section contains routes which can either be started from the terrace (walk in from the left) or from the quarry floor.

  5. Captain Sensible – Fr.?
    The right hand route, is getting overgrown without traffic. 8 m.

  6. Full Nelson – Fr. 6b
    The left hand route, starting from the floor. 15 m. Half Nelson – Fr. 6a+ starts from the terrace. 8 m.

    Sensibly, no development or retrobolting of routes beyond Full Nelson should be undertaken. The area contains natural environmental features which should be conserved


A Route Called Malice. Fr.6c. Climber: Paul Bowen. Photograph: Alan Rosier.

Left Wall

Short and juggy with a sandy bottom (ooh-err!). Routes described from left to right.

  1. Lifes Too Short - OPEN PROJECT
    The earthy, part cleaned/trundled, chimney on the left of the crag. 8 m.

  2. Up the Wrong Un - Fr. 6a
    From the rail gain a break with a long reach/lunge. Shared LO double twizzles. 8 m.

  3. Stick It - Fr. 6a
    Similar entertainment using a rail to gain the triangular handhold. 8 m.

  4. Leave It - Fr. 6a+
    Entertaining first moves to gain and use undercut. LO by tree. 8 m.

  5. Tyre(d) - CLOSED PROJECT

  6. Take It - Fr. 6a+
    Twizzles passing mini tree stump, stepping across from the slab not allowed at this grade. 8 m.

Right Wall

A slightly slabby wall of compact, pocketed sandstone. Routes are described from left to right

Viaduct Quarry Right Wall Topo. Photograph: Alan Rosier.
  1. Martian Burlesque - HVS, 5b
    The short arête. Essentially worthless. 6 m.

  2. Night Watchman - Fr. 6a
    Climb left of the crack direct past the peg then make a rounded traverse R to the chain. 7 m.

  3. Sticky Wicket - Fr. 6a+
    Short but with some entertaining moves. Chain shared with routes to the left. 8 m.

  4. Opening Batman - Fr. 6a
    Follow a line of five 6 mm twizzle bolts to a lower off above the overhang. 11 m.

  5. Amber Leaf – Fr. 6b
    Follow the disjointed crack to an easier upper wall. 11 m.

  6. Arabesque - E5, 6a
    Solo up the sheer wall 1.5 m left of Malice, past a very shallow eliptical pocket 4.5 m up. Lower off a single staple on Malice. 7 m.

  7. Malice – Fr. 6c *
    Start at a series of deep finger pockets, below a difficult crack in the upper wall. 11 m.

  8. Green Ginger Wine - Fr. 6a
    Gain the ‘Hole’ and move up to the half height break. Climb directly over the huge unstable flake. ;-). 12 m.

  9. Tikka-tikka Kiss-kiss - Fr.6b+
    Thin slab work to the mid height break is followed by easier but steeper wall climbing. 12 m.

  10. Chubby Rambo - Fr. 6b *
    Lower wall has a flake crack and pockets. The upper wall is fingery. 13 m.

  11. I Wish My Wife Was This Dirty - Fr. 6b
    Start at a crack, just left of a wet streak in the black lower wall. Traverse right at the break to gain the huge crozzly pocket and fingery orange wall above. 12 m.

  12. Hail to the Chimp - Fr. 6b+
    The overhanging crack in the side wall. Tough reachy move in middle section. Probably Fr. 6b+/6c. 9 m.

The start of Chubby Rambo and finish of Tikka-Tikka combined is a fairly consistent Fr. 6a *. The alternative combo is solid Fr. 6b+ *


Simon Rawlinson on The Clart Mountain Project


Piano Dentist Fr.6b. Climber: Robin McAllister. Photograph: Alan Rosier.


Right Hand Retaining Walls

  1. R McAllister 22.08.2009
  2. B Hughes 21.09.2010
  3. G Lewis 17.08.2010
  4. R McAllister 09.11.2009 - Al was chased up the cliff by a trio of wild looking huskies roaming the woods that day!

Main Wall

  1. A Rosier 16.10.2009
  2. A Rosier 22.08.2009
  3. A Rosier 22.08.2009
  4. A Rosier 18.07.2009
  5. R McAllister 28.07.2009
  6. R McAllister 18.07.2009
  7. C Wyatt 05.05.2010 - Chris was seeing stars after he dislodged a rock onto his head. Always wear a helmet kids!

Kiddies Corner

  1. A Rosier, R McAllister 01.07.2010
  2. (Aid) A Rosier, R McAllister 01.07.2010
    (Free) S Rawlinson 27.05.2011
  3. A Rosier 24.07.2009
  4. A Rosier 14.08.2009
  5. A Rosier 14.08.2009
  6. A Rosier 06.09.2009

Sunny Slabs

  1. R Thomas 11.08.2010
  2. D Emanuel 27.09.2010
  3. R Thomas 15.08.2010
  4. R Thomas 18.08.2010
  5. S Delaney 22.06.10
  6. R Thomas 27.09.2010


Tunnel Wall

  1. Unknown Pre. 2006
  2. A Rosier 27.09.2009
  3. A Rosier 27.09.2009
  4. A Rosier 24.04.2010 - Clear blue skies this day, not a vapour trail in sight. All flights were stopped due to Icelands volcanic eruption.
  5. Gary Lewis 22.06.2010

Terrace Wall

  1. R McAllister 27.06.2010
  2. A Rosier 06.05.2010
  3. A Rosier 01.05.2010
  4. Unknown Pre. 2006
  5. Unknown Pre. 2006
  6. Unknown Pre. 2006


Left Wall

  1. R Thomas Open Proj
  2. R Thomas 00.10.2010
  3. R Thomas 00.10.2010
  4. R Thomas 00.10.2010
  5. R Thomas Closed Proj
  6. R Thomas 00.10.2010

Right Wall

  1. R Thomas 04.08.2010
  2. R Thomas 04.08.2010
  3. R Thomas 04.08.2010
  4. R Thomas 19.05.2010
  5. A Rosier 09.11.2009
  6. M Crocker 03.06.2010
  7. A Rosier 09.11.2009
  8. A Rosier 09.11.2009
  9. A Rosier 18.06.2010
  10. A Rosier 27.06.2010
  11. A Rosier 12.09.2010
  12. R McAllister 18.06.2010

Monk's Quarry - Main Wall
Steve Delaney on the destined to be popular 'A Nightmare of Lundy Cabbage' - Tunnel Walls
Tunnel Quarry - Overlapping Wall & Tunnel Wall
Crumlin - Viaduct Quarry